Lynne Chapman has expanded my sandbox

Accordion sketchbook 180° view
Week 4 on Sketchbook Skool put us in the able, chirpy hands of Lynne Chapman, an Urban Sketcher and professional illustrator. We went on a walk to watch her sketch on the pavement, and we spent a lot of time in her gorgeous, custom-built studio, hearing her talk about art materials, the tricks she plays to get past creative blocks, or to make something good about a sketch gone…not ‘bad’, but just not quite the way she wanted it to. She shares all of the good Sketchbook Skool tips, plus much more, on her website, An Illustrator’s Life For Me

But what really delighted me the most was her use of the accordion sketchbook. Now, as a bookbinder, I make the accordion format quite often. I teach it to my students, and have even made a diagram for how to fold a strip into 8 parts without measuring each section, here.

But it was a “slap-your-forehead- and-holler” moment when I saw her use the full potential of the accordion sketchbook by recording on its unfurling pages such things as the passage of time. A story. A process. A journey, or a long panoramic view.

Accordion sketchbook 180° viewWHY DID I NEVER THINK TO USE THEM THIS WAY? I’m flabbergasted by my lack of imagination. I might fold a strip of paper, fully 1 metre long, down into a book with 14 pages (8 on the front, 6 if you count the back and add covers), and then I will boringly see each page separately, as one does a regular book…thereby squandering all the delicious potential that lies in a 1 metre long picture that collapes down to a compact size. Good grief.
Accordion sketchbook 180° view
So our homework for Lynne’s class was to construct an accordion book, and fill it. I did a 180° view of the inside of my room on the boat. The perspectives just about did my head in, because the roof of the wheelhouse slopes to either side, and the walls lean inward. I got as far as 6 pages of the 8, then gave up, because I’d added colour and realised that I liked the drawing better when it was just orange linework. I might finish the drawing this weekend, but won’t colour the last two pages in (because I don’t keep a sketchbook in order to slog through chores, what would be the point?)

I can see all sorts of projects, now, that I would love to make as accordion books. The invitation to PLAY on a river of paper that just keeps going and going is SO EXCITING! Lynne shared a lot of things with us in the week, but for me this one was the keeper.

The Future is Here & Now

Fortune TellerInspired by a fortune teller’s symbol, this painted wooden hand went into the Gypsies, Vagabonds & Wild Mad Women exhibition. These photos were taken before I’d finished…later on, I added the words “Here & Now” to the golden circle in the center of the palm.

Red and black horses, symbols from Russian folk art, run around the base of the arm. Traditionally, they represent Day and Night.

Fortune Teller

Fortune Teller

A cottage in the woods

baba yaga's cottage

The cottage is made of various papers. The frilly roof was fun to make.

Tropical cyclone warning device

Tropical Cyclone Warning Device

Tongue-in-cheek painting I made for fun, and to use up extra paint. It was among the first to go at the Gypsies, Vagabonds & wild Mad Women exhibition. East and West got swapped the wrong way…

If The Caribbean were a mini golf course

My favorite place as a mini-golf course...In the second part of our homework for Sketchbook Skool under Brian Butler, we had to use the same “one from column A, one from column B” way of generating interesting images, but this time using iconic symbols/images from “My Favorite Place”.

He encouraged us to imagine a mini-golf course.

I decided on a still life of the usual things on my desk (a shout out to being back in Oz, at home) and paired each object up with something from one of the countries visited between 2014-2016. By the time I got to the end, things had moved around a bit, I added bits…it took on a life of its own, which is always a good thing (and a relief).

My favorite place as a mini-golf course...

My favorite place as a mini-golf course...

My favorite place as a mini-golf course...Thus ends Week 3 of Sketchbook Skool. Every Monday I get online hoping that we’ll have Felix Scheinberger, next. I wonder if he’ll be next week’s teacher? So exciting!

hybrid vigour

Brewster & Cappuchicken

Last week in Sketchbook Skool, Brian Butler took us along to rock concerts to watch him sketch on the dance floor, and then we went for a walk around the neighbourhood to generate site-specific ideas for a mural in downtown Los Angeles.

His system for generating ideas by writing a list of adjectives in one column, a list of nouns in the other column—and then randomly combining a word from each column—called to mind my own exercises in imagination by drawing two or three slips of paper from a cup, and then creating a hybrid image from the words.

CHICKEN FEET + POTS was my first attempt to do the homework Brian gave us. PERFUME + FOOD was the second.
Eau de Habañero